Morning Juice: J.A. Happ taught a playoff lesson by ... the Pirates?

David Brown
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This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in the Steel City, where they drink Iron City Beer and following the Pirates usually makes it seem like you're tasting metal. But not in this series against the world Philly champions.

Game of the Day: Pirates 3, Phillies 2

Lost at sea: Yes, the Pirates are heading toward losing season No. 17 in a row. Sure, they just shipped off to other teams yet another failed generation of Bucco ballplayers who were about to financially mature. Absolutely, the Rogers aren't at their jolliest at this time.

That doesn't mean they can't take a piece of their intrastate rivals from the East. Thanks to a slew of home runs and a couple of late meltdowns, the Burgh took two of three from Philly and, in the finale, handed J.A. Happ(notes) his toughest loss of the season.

Happenstance: Garrett Jones(notes), who continues to have a heck of a year from out of nowhere, lined a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Pittsburgh's other run came in the first on Andrew McCutchen's solo shot. Both hits were just out of the reach of the Flyin' Hawaiian, Shane Victorino(notes) (above).

This is what playoff baseball will be like for Happ, who will be counted on to play a significant role when the time comes. One mistake here, two mistakes there, a well-pitched game by the other guy, and your side loses.

Happ couldn't believe how narrow his error margin was.

"This is really frustrating for me," Happ said. "Maybe I rushed myself a little bit and he got to it. I felt fine. I felt like it was my game. I could taste it, but that's the way it is. I made a mistake and I paid for it."

Happ fell to 10-3 after allowing three runs, seven hits and two walks over eight innings. He struck out four. With a sparkling 2.63 ERA, Happ is still in good shape for NL Rookie of the Year.

Said his manager, Charlie Manuel: "He pitched too good a game to lose."

Learn the lessons now, take the moral victories when you can; in October, nobody's going to care.

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Feelin' Rundown (now leaving Pennsylvania):

Nationals 5, Cubs 4: If anyone had an iota of a question about the Cubs being toast, dropping two of three at home to the Nats ought to show you which side of their bread is buttered.

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Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Recycling Vicente Padilla(notes) (above, right) off the scrap metal heap works out great in his first start for the Dodgers. And L.A. hasn't even heard the Kiss tribute band Padilla and Hank Blalock(notes) had rocking in Arlington.

D-backs 11, Giants 0: Petit the poor Giants.

Rangers 7, Yankees 2: Distracted by the apparent pending nuptials of Derek Jeter(notes) and Minka Kelly (shotgun wedding?), the Yankees could do nothing with Jason Grilli(notes) and the Rangers bullpen. I mean, what do you get the couple that has everything? Well, candlesticks always make a nice gift ...

Braves 9, Padres 1: Bud Selig was about to yank the Braves' pennant race card if they got swept by Dora y Diego.

White Sox 9, Red Sox 5: Shortstop Nick Green(notes) might be Terry Francona's secret bullpen weapon: Three walks, but no hits allowed in two innings of mopup duty. Hey, the White Sox are back to .500. Let's have a parade.

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: The Astros are still dead to Roy Oswalt(notes).

Athletics 2, Angels 0: Well, doggie. Trevor Cahill, U.S. Marshal, came in 0-10 in 18 previous starts in which he received three runs or fewer of support. Unless I am mixing up my boxcores with my boxer shorts, we got ourselves a streak-buster, yee-hah! (fire your guns in air, like you're at a Town Hall meeting).

Indians 5, Orioles 4: Show us your beads! It's Marte-gras!

Royals 8, Mariners 4: Hear, yee, hear yee! Supreme Betancourt now in session!

Mets 10, Marlins 3: New stadium done yet?

Reds 8, Brewers 5: Reds sweep not all that shocking in city that has had three socialist mayors.